Travel Photo Challenge Day 10 – Tanna

I’ve been nominated by some fellow bloggers, Tony and Margie with Back Roads and Other Stories as well as Jyothi with Travel Explore Enjoy, to post one favorite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate.  That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations.  It is my understanding that the idea behind the challenge is to expose audiences to new bloggers and vice versa.  I’m always up for helping fellow bloggers, so I have accepted the challenge. 

That said, my rule following self is going to follow Tony and Margie’s lead and break a handful of them.  First, while a picture paints a 1,000 words, I’m incapable of posting a photo without some explanation.  Sometimes the story makes the image that much more special.  Second, though not specified, I think the intent is to post 10 days in a row.  I’ll be lucky if I post 10 weeks in a row. I also may post more than one photo at times.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!
Annie at Estabrook

Postcard Apps for Writing Notes from Afar

Given most of the world is in lockdown due to COVID, this is probably not the best time to write an article about postcard apps that let you mail a note with your own photo from all over the world.  At the same time, they may still be used to cheer someone up during this difficult time and for the holiday season.

When I began traveling internationally for extensive trips, I wanted an easy way to say “hello” to my friends and family back home without having to hunt for a postcard, find a post office, and get the appropriate postage.

SAY HELLO!
islanders from munda

Four Days in Munda

Solomon Islands

After four weeks of island hopping in the South Pacific, I met my friends, Julie and Dustin, in the Solomon Islands.  Because I had planned so much of my first four weeks in American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, I relied heavily on Julie and Dustin for planning in the Solomons.  As a result, I knew very little about the country which gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1978.

The sovereign state includes six major islands and over 900 smaller ones.  During our visit to the Solomon Islands, we began in its capital, Honiara, and traveled west through the Central Province to the Western Province with the Taka dive boat.  Ultimately, we ended our journey in Munda.

EXPLORE

SCUBA Diving in the Solomon Islands

In Guadalcanal

After island hopping around the South Pacific for a month, I finally joined my friends, Julie and Dustin, in the Solomons. We originally met while snorkeling with the humpbacks eight years ago, and every few years we end up in another part of the world together, usually on a dive boat live aboard. After a few days in Honiara, we boarded the Taka along with 12 other guests.

Our pick up took place at 6pm at the Coral Sea Resort, though was slightly delayed due to the rainy weather. Lupa had us sign waivers in the pavilion while Adam coordinated both the transport of our bags in the tender to our boat, as well as the transport of the passengers. When the rain decreased to a sprinkle, the crew zipped back and forth in the tender, taking about four of us at a time to our home for the next week.

GO DIVING
at Tenaru Falls in the Guadalcanal

Top Things to Do in Honiara

Getting to the Solomons

After four weeks of island hopping, I joined my friends in the Solomons after an unusual connecting flight through Fiji.  The gentleman in my row asked me to carry his alcohol through immigration.  I’m sure it was just due to a limit, but entering a foreign country, I politely replied, “No, thank you.”  Upon a second attempt, to which I said no again, he told me I wasn’t being very nice!

A few folks behind us overheard, and at the end of the flight, they wanted to know more.  In the end, I learned, one lady sails her boat around the world.  Envious, I said, I wish I met you while in Vanuatu, I always find myself wanting to be on islands that are only accessible to boats.  She told me for the future, I could just go to a website call Crew Seekers.  Hello!  That’s how I’ll be doing some of my future trips.

EXPLORE

Three Days in Efate

Continuing my island hop through the South Pacific, which has included Hawaii, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, and now Vanuatu, I flew from Espiritu Santo to Efate. Efate is the most populous island in the archipelago and is home to the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila. The island, which was used as the locale for the Tales of the South Pacific as well as for three seasons of Survivor, many times is simply referred to as Vila.

LET’S GO

Four Day Itinerary for Espiritu Santo

Getting to Santo

Continuing my journey around the South Pacific, I visited another island in Vanuatu, Epiritu Santo (better known as Santo to islanders). I arrived in Santo after taking a connecting flight from Tanna through Port Vila. Once again, the flight left 30 minutes early after the headcount was taken and all expected passengers were on board.

I was now aware of Air Vanuatu’s strict guidelines for electronic devices and didn’t turn on my phone during take off or landing. Additionally, I made sure and every item was substantially under the forward seat for the drill sergeant flight attendants.

LET’S GO

Three Days in Tanna

About Vanuatu

After two weeks of no cell service and one week of no WiFi while in the Solomon Islands, I’m back online to post about my previous adventures in Vanuatu. What a wonderful place! The archipelago, which gained independence from France in 1980, comprises 82 islands, of which 65 are inhabited.

Vanuatu is a very poor South Pacific Nation whose mainstays are agriculture, tourism, offshore financial services, and cattle raising. Citizenship may be purchased for $150,000, and many Chinese have been moving onto the islands.

The National language is Bislama, similar to Pidgin English, and the official languages are French, English and Bislama. It’s amazing these islanders that have so little are at least tri-lingual and maybe more as many have a tribal dialect too. I’d just like to be bilingual which I’m working on with my next trip to Panama in a Spanish submersion school.

LET’S GO

Three Days in Tonga

My island hop adventure has taken me from Hawaii, to American Samoa, to Samoa, and now Tonga. I knew nothing of Tonga prior to making my reservations. After browsing my Pacific Island travel guide, I learned the people are devout Christians and island doesn’t cater much to tourists. Not knowing what to expect, I was a little nervous about visiting, especially via Talofa Airways.

LET’S GO

Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Where to Stay on Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Saletoga Sands is a lovely resort on the Southeastern coast of Upolu between Utulaelae and Matatufu. If I had my time to do over in Samoa, I might have stayed all four days here. The resort offers an airport transfer for a fee and has a variety of tours. For anyone who wants more freedom, they also rent both cars and scooters. Having seen the potholed roads, I’d stick to a car.

I spent two days in Apia, the capital of Samoa, and rented a car from Talofa Inn in order to get to the southeastern coast. The rainy weather wasn’t too conducive to beach going so I made a handful of stops along the Cross Island Road which cuts across the middle of the island.

LET’S GO